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Prelims Syllabus : Environment Mains Syllabus :

Why in News?

  • The Namrup-based Assam Petrochemicals Limited (APL) on Friday rolled out the country’s first methanol-based cooking fuel which will be cheaper than conventional LPG fuel.

About:

  • Oct 5th, 2018 is a historic day for India, Northeast and Assam Petro-chemicals, a state-owned company for launching Asia’s first cannisters based and India’s first “Methanol Cooking Fuel Program”. The program was inaugurated by Dr V K Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog.
  • 500 households inside the Assam Petro Complex will be the first pilot project, scaling it to 40,000 households in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Goa and Karnataka.
  • The project is a natural extension of our Prime Minister’s vision of reducing import of crude and an effort to provide clean, import substitute, cost effective and pollution free cooking medium. Assam Petrochemicals Limited has been manufacturing methanol for the last 30 years and is in the process of upgrading their 100 TPD methanol plant to 600 TPD by Dec 2019.
  • The safe handling cannister based cooking stoves are from Swedish Technology and through a Technology transfer a large-scale cooking stove manufacturing plant will come up in India in the next 18 months producing 10 lakh Cookstoves and 1 Crore Cannisters per year.

Advantages:

  • This technology is very unique, it handles methanol extremely safely, does not need regulator or any piping system. The cooking medium can directly substitute LPG, Kerosene, Wood, Charcoal and any other fuel for cooking. The gaseous form, Methanol – DME, can be blended in 20% ratio with LPG. LPG-DME blending program is expected to kickstart in the country by next year. 1.2 litres cannisters can last for full five hours on twin burners and 8 such Cannisters as rack can last for one month for a family of three.
  • The cost of energy equivalent of one cylinder of LPG for Methanol is Rs. 650, compared to Rs. 850 per cylinder resulting in a minimum of 20% Savings. For instance, in Manipur the cost of transportation of LPG is Rs. 200, whereas same cost for Methanol will be Rs. 12.
  • This provides for an excellent alternative as household fuel and commercial, institutional and fuel for restaurants. China uses 4 MMTA of Methanol as Cooking Fuel annually.

Other advantages of Methanol:

1. Clean cooking fuels:

  • Methanol/DME to help in achieving the objective of access to clean cooking fuels in India and further the flagship initiative of the Government, PMUY (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)

2. Displacing diesel in Telecom Towers:

  • Telecom towers in India consume around 2% of diesel (1.5 MT) consumption which is a significant amount indicating a vast potential for DME to replace diesel.

3. Production of various chemicals:

  • Methanol can be used for producing various chemicals like formaldehyde, acetic acid and olefins which can be exported and can be high foreign exchange earners.

4. Boost to Swachh Bharat Mission:

  • Methanol can also be produced from waste which would give a boost to India’s flagship programme “SWACHH BHARAT MISSION”
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